Britain’s most senior counter-terrorism officer has told the Guardian that he doesn’t think that British Muslims should “assimilate”.
And there, in a nutshell, you have almost everything wrong with policing in Britain today.
The job of Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu is to protect the British people — who pay his lavish salary and fund his even more impressive retirement package — from terrorism. His job is most definitely not to give interviews to left-wing newspapers spouting semi-literate pseudo-academic drivel like:
“Assimilation implies that I have to hide myself in order to get on.”
Assimilation implies nothing of the kind. Assimilation, I would argue, is basic good manners. When you move to a new country it’s only right and fair and polite to adopt its customs as best you can, first as a gesture of gratitude and reassurance to your hosts, secondly as a way of working with the grain of the local culture and using it to your advantage.
We even have a phrase for this time-honoured practice: “When in Rome…”
But now here’s Neil Basu — a talent being tipped for the highest ranks in British policing — reinventing “assimilation” to mean something negative.
British Muslims who “assimilate”, he is suggesting, are living a lie. They are “hiding” themselves in order to get on, perhaps in the manner of Jews disguising their Semitic ancestry in Nazi Germany, or gay men in pre-Wolfendon Britain living a lie by pretending to be straight in order to advance their careers.
Perhaps Basu was being careless here. Perhaps he was so busy trying to establish his virtue with the Guardian‘s readership that he didn’t consider the consequences of his loose talk.
But how can it possibly be helpful to his role in combating terrorism?
Imagine for a start how damaging it is to Muslims who want fully to integrate in British culture — say, supporting the England cricket team, not being triggered by butchers selling sausages or by posters of scantily clad women on the side of buses, not wearing the hijab, not being appalled and disgusted by the idea of dating or even marrying someone from another faith. Such people, by Basu’s definition, are “hiding” themselves to “get on”. They are in denial of their true nature. Indeed, they have betrayed their identity.
Basu has just made their job much harder for them. He has effectively endorsed the hardline view that the job of Muslims is to stay within the Umma and to treat those who are not their co-religionists as kuffar.
He has also made it easier for ‘conservative’ Muslims, as he calls them, to maintain their unbending position on British culture — which, in a good number of cases, is that it is morally tainted, inferior, indeed so corrupt and misguided that the only way it can be redeemed is when — inevitably — it submits to Dar al Islam.
Thanks, Neil Basu. You might expect this kind of approach from a left-wing sociology professor or Jeremy Corbyn on the campaign trail or hook-handed Muslim cleric. But from the most senior policeman in charge of anti-terrorism in the UK? Really??
Basu’s stupid remarks — which I hope earn him a stern reprimand from his new boss, Home Secretary Priti Patel — are symptomatic of a much wider problem with British policing: it’s now an institution which values politically correct virtue-signalling more highly than it values actual crime prevention.
Here is Basu again, agonising about the hurty words which in his expert opinion — (Politics, University of Nottingham) — might be a factor in young men heading off to Syria for extended rape, crucifixion, and beheading holidays or young men strapping explosive belts to themselves so they can blow little girls to smithereens at pop concerts.
Basu added: “These are wider societal problems. They are not paying more police and more security services to stop more terrorist attacks. That’s not the cure for this. Like every other aspect of law enforcement, we [counter-terrorism policing] are a suppression tool for a problem. We are dealing with the symptom and we do need to deal with the root causes of it.”
While the majority of the terrorism threat was from Islamist extremists, far-right propaganda could help create a permissive environment for some to commit violence, he said, and society needed to determine how much of that rhetoric was acceptable.
“At the moment, we seem to be accepting a level which I think is potentially breeding some intolerance,” he said. “That intolerance, for a small number of people, can spin up very quickly to a violent act, and we have some examples of that. We have some very awful examples of that.”
Is anyone else feeling a little nervous at this point?
Not only is Britain’s head of anti-terrorism thinking like a lefty sociologist — radical Islam isn’t the problem; society is the problem — but he is actually hinting that he wants a clampdown on free speech in order to end “rhetoric” he considers unacceptable.
Britain’s possible future head of the Metropolitan police sounds very much time to me like a liberal fascist.
If Basu is in any way representative of the top echelons of British policing — and I fear he is — then God help us all.